• Friday, July 19, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

PDP leader applauds Nigeria-UAE pact on recovery of stolen public funds

businessday-icon

Leader of the opposition party in the House of Representatives, Leo Ogor (PDP-Delta), has applauded the recent bilateral agreement signed between Nigeria and United Arab Emirates (UAE) to repatriate stolen funds.

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari-led delegation had last week signed bilateral agreements on trade, finance and judicial matters; avoidance of double taxation; trade promotion and protection; civil and commercial issues as well as anti-terrorism.

Ogor, who spoke with select legislative correspondents including BusinessDay, however stressed the need for the Presidency and anti-corruption agencies to adhere to the Rule of Law in discharging their statutory functions.

“It is not a bad concept, it is a good concept. Mr President is on a crusade and he believes that he needs to block some of these lope holes. I will also probably give that to him in respect of his anti corruption crusade, it is a step in the right direction. Let us also encourage him in fighting this battle.

“In fighting this anti corruption crusade he should also remember that there is a country that we need to run, policies that we need to maintain, there are challenges that are back home here, it is important that Mr. President spend some time with his economic team to look to some of these challenges that are rearing their heads. But he should keep on and keep up the anti-corruption battle that he is fighting. Let him try as much as he can to recover more money,” Ogor admonished Buhari.

On the recent arraignment of some key PDP officials, including Oliseh Metuh who was dragged to court in handcuffs, Ogor alleged that such action was uncalled, just as he emphasised on the need for fair hearing and trial of any suspected Nigerian.

“The arraignment like we all read in the paper borders on him tearing the statement that he issued when he was in custody. Much as I don’t want to dwell too much on a matter that is before a competent court of jurisdiction, I think the most important thing here is that he has the option of defending himself.

“Whether he is arraigned 10 times or 100 times, as far as I am concerned it is inconsequential. The court will take a look at the subject matter. But the main matter here is that whether he tore his statement, whether it has gotten to a stage where probably somebody might say I don’t want to issue this statement, I want to rewrite my statement. Where he or she is being denied of those freedoms and somebody is taking him or her to court, in respect of something of that nature, it is bound to arise.

“I don’t want to prejudice the subject matter, those are the decisions of the court whether somebody can tear his statement and write another one, if somebody is guiding him to write such thing and he says no, I won’t write it that way, no this is the way I want it and with that, it becomes an offence then the court will definitely take a decision. But I know that I believe in the court, I believe in the independence of the court,” he stated.

Also fielding question on the arms deal scandal, the PDP stalwart, urged the Presidency to make public details of its findings on the $2.1 billion.

He said: “when you look at the investigation going on, the level of secrecy behind the investigation is even very worrisome to me. I think if anybody wants to be transparent, make this investigation open, publish the accounts, and open these accounts for us.

“Let’s look at this $2.1 billion, how it was spent, who did the conversion, how much was in the account, and what was in the account.”